Dell 2013: Must Solidify Enterprise, Mobile Strategies

Dell’s made several good (and bad) decisions in 2012, but which will power the PC maker into 2013?  SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier, Wikibon co-founder Dave Vellante and networking guru Stu Miniman are on the showroom floor at Dell World 2012 in Austin, Texas, to bring us the latest from the company and its ecosystem.  See here for Part One and Part Two.

Furrier and Vellante expect the coming days to be a big focal point for Dell: the vendor is undergoing a major transformation as it shifts its attention away from PCs to the higher-end enterprise and services market. It made six acquisitions in 2012 alone, most of which were software vendors, and the conference represents the perfect opportunity to showcase the fruits of its labor from the past 12 months.

This aggressive M&A strategy has more to it, Vellante notes. He says that Dell is going after high-profit markets that are far more lucrative than consumer tech in order to boost its current average margin of 22 percent, and to finance its future growth.

Continuing this line of thought, Furrier adds that while Dell’s client business may have plummeted in recent years (bringing the firm’s stock down with it), the manufacturer still rakes in 60 billion dollars every year.   Mobile is the culprit behind the decline in global demand for PCs, and Dell ought to jump on that bandwagon if it wishes to tap into the consumerization of IT.

Vellante has his own angle: Dell has to continue investing in its storage business. Thanks to the acquisitions of Compellent and other firms, the manufacturer has established a strong presence in the low-end storage market, but it’s facing increased competition from HP and other vendors that are seeking to expand their turf. Dell, however, is firing back.

Vellante thinks that the company’s still-in-development plans for flash will play a huge role in the coming years.  The Wikibon analyst believes that metadata belongs on fast servers rather than slow storage, and as the largest storage vendor in the U.S., Dell is positioned to take full advantage of the technology.

Furrier and Vellante agree that as far as its enterprise goes, Dell has a strong line-up. The one problem is that Dell has not optimized its portfolio: their view is that the firm needs to strengthen its services offering in order to accomplish this goal, following the footsteps of larger rivals such as EMC and IBM.

For the rest, including analysis from Stu Miniman and an inside glimpse at Dell, check out the full day 1 session below.